Category Archives: Real Men (and Women) of Genius

September 16, 2009, 12:43 pm

Learning To Say No, Hollywood Style: A Helpful Response To Screenwriter Josh Olson

Since my post on the Teabag Protest has practically gone viral (many thanks to my colleague Bitch Ph.D. for the link) today’s post is just a follow up on advice given last week on saying no. Such as, No, I will decline to comment further on why I can’t show unconditional love to the beleaguered mommy lobby. However, thanks to my Cliopatria colleague, historian Ralph Luker, I want to pass on this charming tidbit published in the September 9 Village Voice by screenwriter and director Josh Olson. In “I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script,” Olson announces happily that it will cause people to think he is a “dick” that he does not want to take a look at even a two-page treatment for them. He tells every Hollywood wannabe with a dream that there is

an ugly truth about many aspiring screenwriters: They think that screenwriting doesn’t actually require the ability to write, just the ability to …

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August 20, 2009, 1:09 pm

Barney Frank Doesn’t Live Around Uranus, But A Lot Of Conservative Activists Seem To Be Moving There

According to The Huffington Post, at a town meeting in Dartmouth, MA, last Tuesday, Congressman Barney Frank was confronted by a constituent (or a woman posing as one) who asked him why he was “supporting this Nazi policy.” She was referring to the Obama administration’s initiative intended to address the billions of dollars we flush down the toilet daily to achieve the worst, or second to worst according to some estimates, national health care outcomes in the industrialized world. Read the story about this bizarre charge and see the clip of Frank’s response here. Frank, who is a Jewish homosexual (both categories of people were murdered by the Nazis), responded by asking the demonstrator: “On what planet do you spend most of your time?” He then called her stated views “vile, contemptible nonsense.” He closed by saying: “Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing …

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July 27, 2009, 3:35 pm

A Meditation on Recent History, Belonging and Endurance

I was trying to think of something clever to add to Historiann’s list of things to pack as you prepare to take off for graduate school. Medical marijuana? Nicotine patches (especially if you do not already smoke)? Extra courage?

And then I remembered this. In a collection of lectures entitled Writing in an Age of Silence (New York: Verso, 2007), crime novelist Sara Paretsky writes about entering the University of Chicago’s Ph.D. program in history:

When I started my doctoral work, the head of the European field committee told entering students that women could memorize and parrot things back, but that we weren’t capable of producing original work. In his history of Western Civilization, he included no accomplishments by women.

Thirteen women started the US history program with me in the fall of 1968. I was the only one who returned our second year, and that wasn’t because I was a be…

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July 15, 2009, 3:44 pm

Not Just Your Average Kibitzing Radical: Ways To Be In Touch With The Struggle At The University of California

“As California goes, so goes the nation,” writes my correspondent Eileen Boris from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where a lot of the activism seems to be taking place. So get involved! Public education matters.

So if you can tear yourself away from the Sotomayor hearings, here are some links she sent me. The first is a petition to suspend the current budget-cutting strategy (which seems to be of the slash-and-burn variety) until a more participatory planning process can be organized. You will be asked to identify your relationship to the university; I wrote “friend of the University of California,” and it accepted that designation.

For more on what organizers are currently up to, click here, and to get information about the California Board of Regents, click here.

And while you are at it — find out what’s being cut in your state. Reports submitted to Tenured Radical at …

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July 14, 2009, 3:02 pm

“Sincerely Yours, The Department Of Miserable Bastards”

“The partly filled lifeboat standing by about 100 yards away never came back. Why on Earth they never came back is a mystery. How could any human being fail to heed those cries?” Jack B. Thayer, a survivor of RMS Titanic, April, 1912.

Thanks to my colleague Margaret Soltan at University Diaries, I have acquired a link to this letter. It is signed by Andrew Scull, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at the University of California, San Diego and twenty-two of his fellow chairs, including John Marino, the chair of history. English, in my experience often the home of gentler folk, is not a signatory. I don’t see any of the chairs of interdisciplinary programs like Gender Studies or Ethnic Studies either. So that tells you something right there.

Read the letter for yourself and see what you think. True, higher education in California is imperiled by the state …

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July 9, 2009, 9:42 pm

What’s Wrong With Journalism: Your Radical Reporter In Afghanistan

Many things are wrong with journalism, and not just reporting on Afghanistan. But what has obliged me to speak today is this report posted on line by the Associated Press and appearing as a headline story on my Yahoo email account. As if endless advertisements for Acai products (accompanied by distorted, pulsating pictures of doughy female flesh that are supposed to make me hate myself) are not enough, today I was greeted by this headline: “Afghanistan tones down contentious marriage law.”

You remember that contentious law — the one applying to Shiite women that made it legal for their husbands to rape them? The one signed by our democratic ally Hamid Karzai? “The new version,” you will be glad to hear, “no longer requires a woman submit to sex with her husband, only that she do certain housework.” The housework will be agreed to at the time of the marriage, and please be assured…

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April 21, 2009, 2:57 pm

How Many Administrators Does It Take To File A Department Of Education Report?

Two. One to file the report, one to respond the barrage of stupid newspaper articles written about the report after the data is crunched by a non-profit conservative think tank.

This half-assed joke is a response to an article by Tamar Lewin in today’s New York Times that ran under the headline “Staff Jobs On Campus Outpace Enrollment.” The data, taken from Department of Education reports filed by 2,782 colleges and analyzed by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, shows that public and private colleges have about the same ratio of staff to student (8 and 9 per 100, respectively) and have bloated at about the same rate since 1987. Lewin writes,

In the 20-year period, the report found, the greatest number of jobs added, more than 630,000, were instructors — but three-quarters of those were part-time. Converted to full-time equivalents, those resulted in a total of 939,…

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March 19, 2008, 7:13 pm

Department of Odd Coincidences

So after yesterday’s post condemning tenure (again) I get back to work on the talk I am supposed to give on pornography (again) and I drift off onto the internet (again), clicking around to the sites listed on my sitemeter from whence people arrived at Tenured Radical. Eventually, I come up with a story from the Chronicle of Higher Education about:

Pornography and Tenure.

Go ahead. Make my day!

To make a long story short, a married couple out at New Mexico State University was just denied tenure, and they are charging racial bias. What they also reveal, however, was that shortly before they were denied tenure, John — the husband part of the married couple — received an e-mail from an associate dean that contained a “graphic sexual image.” He complained to the dean; and shortly afterwards, the chair of the couple’s department decided that neither member of the couple should receive…

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March 4, 2008, 3:21 pm

Why I Have A Million Little Reasons For Thinking That Roger Clemens Might Have Used Performance Enhancing Drugs (And Other Modern Lies)

In my experience, a great many people who lie keep on lying until they are faced with indisputable proof that they are, in fact, lying. Doctors, athletes, journalists, college professors, cops, politicians. Every profession has liars. Such people, who have lied successfully over and over, will keep doing it until they are stopped, often in a very dramatic and public way. Probably none of us who has had a plagiarized book manuscript sent to us for review ever forgets the experience of uncovering the lie and, when the shock passes, of wondering where it all started: and all of us in teaching eventually have to deal with cheating, a paper purchased off the internet, or one of the other cumbersome, time-consuming ways some students find to not do their own work.

I am willing to wager, after the most recent fraud to rock the publishing world, that many celebrities who lie come to believe…

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November 22, 2007, 2:37 pm

Radical Thanksgiving: the Top Ten Turkeys

Instead of giving thanks for my blessings today, which would be sweet, I know, I am going to be different and inaugurate the First Annual Radical Top Ten Turkeys in Education Awards on this Thanksgiving. Personally, I think this is only appropriate, since my Pilgrim forebears were turkeys too, and showed their thanks to the Indians who had brought several covered dishes to the first Thanksgiving by killing them afterwards. I don’t mean to take the fun out of the holiday or anything, but you can’t be in American Studies and not be up front about these things.

In order to build suspense, in true David Letterman style (hey — if the writers for Letterman’s show never come back maybe they’ll hire me and I can move back to New York!) I will start listing from the ten spot, reserving my Big Turkey Award for last. So without further ado, the winners are:

10. KC and the Sunshine Band, whose…

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